Do the valves have a kind of brownish greenish stain on them? Sometimes monel valves get this problem. The Jupiter people told me it is due to the monel alloy not having the right mix. Then the valve gauls (sp?) with the casing, picking up brass onto the valve. Like metals tend to stick and this causes the problem. If you do have this build up, polish it off the valve by hand. You can try Lava soap, it is abrasive. I use good old fashion tripoli mixed with oil. Be sure to clean the valve off and oil it before you put it back in the casing.
I have also had a problem with Al Cass. I used it for years, then at some point they changed the formula (I heard) and I started getting gunk buildup in my valves. I read that it is a chemical reaction between my saliva and the oil. (did they go to a paraffin base?)
Quite a few people have trouble with the Bach valves. (and some have none) My son's 37 has this kind of problem, and the only solution is to clean the brown stain off the valves every so often.
"Music is a fire in your belly that has to come out of your mouth, so you'd better put a horn in the way before someone gets hurt"
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okay.. my Bach had sticky valves ... the Ultra Pure Rep here pointed out that with some people the lanolin based slide grease reacts with petroleum valve oil. So I switched to Hetman's Valve oil and Selmer slide and cork grease. I then had to clean my horn every few days for about 2 weeks to get all the garbaged that had built up in my horn because of the reaction.
Before I would even consider screwing with my Bach I would really want to be sure it isn't something as simple as sludge or my technique.
It's probably a good idea to use same-brand valve oil and slide grease. Mixing synthetic and standard could cause sludge as they break down. I currently use Hetman's #3 valve oil and Hetman's Tuning Slide Grease #8 on my Strad. Works great.
Also, since this thread has been discussing saliva and how it interacts, it's important to remember cleanliness: brush your teeth (Mom was right), don't eat while playing and drink only water. Getting Pepsi down the horn will not improve its playability.
'82 Bach Stradivarius (43)
'47 Buescher True Tone 205
'71 Bach Mercedes Cornet
'70 Conn F/Eb Alto Horn
'20s Courtois Flugelhorn
Since you say this problem happens sometimes and not others, I would have to think it's being caused by "side pressure" when you are fingering ... especially since it is not always the same valve, or happen all the time.
If it were always the same valve(s) I would say there is a mechanical problem, and should be looked at by a tech.
Have you tried T2 Special valve oil?
This stuff works well against "side pressure".
Check it out at La Tromba T2 Valve Oil or contact me at [email protected]
Sometimes valves will stick on a used horn with Monel valves. Monel is softer than Nickel-silver ,so if the new owner isn't pushing the valves down with exact same the angle as the previous owner,the valves will have a tendancy to stick. If this only happens occasionally,you might be changing the angle of your fingers without realizing it.
Trumpet piston valves really do belong in the dumb design department. I mean come on, luck as the lubrication concept, piston travel contrary to hand geometry, mechanically unstable so that weighted caps make the instrument sound differently, felts with critical thicknesses that do not like moist environments, holes in the caps to leak onto expensive tuxedos, lateral travel due to valve guide horizontal tolerances and a bunch of other sins.
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Besides if you want mother of pearl buttons you have to go piston, no?
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